Roasted Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese, Pistachios and Pancetta

April 25th, 2012  |  Carbs, Family Dinner, Favorites, Side Dishes, Veggies  |  0 Comments

Today is National Zuchinni Bread Day.... I made some to share with you, but this dinner last night was so unbelievably good that I cannot wait to share it... therefore, chocolate apple zuchinni bread will have to wait for another day to feel special.

You see, I have a slight obsession with beets... I have an obnoxious obsession with beets and goat cheese.

I'm pretty sure that the two were made for one another, sort of like peanut butter and chocolate.  Both are good alone, but together they are other-worldly.  I usually {weekly} make up a batch of roasted beets, cut them up and sprinkle with some goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and put them in the refrigerator to have as my 4:30pm snack to hold me over until dinnertime.

I wanted to try something a little different this time though--to jazz up the beets and make them feel a little more special than just a side salad.  They are so beautiful and scrumptious that they deserve to be the star of the show every now and then.  This gorgeous dish is what I came up with.  If you're averse to goat cheese, try feta--it is similar in texture and while I enjoy the tang of a delicious goat cheese, some folks might just prefer to have the creamy bite of feta instead.

I wish there was some PC way to describe how insanely delicious this dinner was, but I'm not sure my spell check would let the words that come to mind fly.  It's soooo good, creamy, nutty, and a little bit salty with the proscuitto.  Just perfection.

So go get yourself some beets already!  What are you waiting for??

Ingredients:

1 bunch of beets --about 4-5 small or 2-3 large, approximately 10 oz.
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 oz. goat cheese
1/3 cup toasted pistachios
4 oz proscuitto {or bacon}, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

Preheat oven to Convection Roast setting at 400 degrees. [Bake at 400 if your oven does not have that feature].  Rinse and trim beets and put in a small casserole dish or roasting pan.  Drizzle beets with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add 1 cup of the white wine so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the beets.  Cover beets with aluminum foil and roast them for about 1 hour, until they are tender when pierced with a fork.  Remove beets from oven and allow them to cool. [Note: if you are using a larger sized beet, increase the cooking time by about 20 minutes.  As you can see by the photos, mine were on the smaller side].

Once the beets are cool enough to handle, gently scrape the skins off the beets and add the beets to a blender with 2 cups of chicken broth.  Pulse several times until beets are broken down but small chunks still remain.  Add beet mixture to two cups of water in a medium saucepan and allow to simmer on the lowest heat possible.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add butter and remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Stir in chopped onion and allow to cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes.  Once onions have turned translucent in color and begin to get golden brown along the edges,  add in risotto and stir for about 2 minutes.  Stir in remaining half cup of the wine and stir until absorbed.  Reduce heat to medium low and slowly add 1 cup of the beet/broth mixture and continue stirring occasionally until all of the broth is absorbed.  Repeat the previous step, adding one cup of broth at a time until all of the broth is soaked up.  Taste the risotto to be sure it is soft; if not, you may need to add an additional 1/2 cup of water until it reaches the desired consistency.

To serve, divide the beet risotto into individual serving bowls, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese, chopped pistachios and crumbled pancetta.  Devour.  Then come back and tell me how amazing it was.

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